History of Hunter Tier Sets

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might have noticed my compulsion for categorizing information and making detailed lists of it. Here’s yet another example of such a post. I give you, the history of Hunter tier sets!


A short history on Hunter tier sets

World of Warcraft has had tier gear since the beginning of the game. The earliest sets were available from the endgame dungeons for level 60 players such as Stratholme or Scholomance or Blackrock Mountain dungeons. After that, and only after that, were the hunters of classic WoW able to go on to raiding content.

In the beginning Blizzard were really elaborate with their set designs, requiring you to obtain eight items per set to activate all the bonuses. And they weren’t as formulaic as today either, sometimes you’d find weapons or trinkets as part of a set.

Obtaining a set from just token drops in raids were a rare thing, most of the time you needed to grind a lot of reputation and do long-ass quest chains on top off the token acquisition. And then there were those pieces of gear that needed several tokens per item, like in Ahn’Qiraj.

Classic WoW had 8 sets specifically for hunters, the expansions after that have not surpassed 4 sets per expansion. With Wrath of the Lich King though, they introduced the idea of having different versions of the same set. So technically we actually saw 10 different tier designs for WotLK. Beginning with two variations on the same look with tier 7 and 8 and ending with three variations on the same look in tier 9 and 10. Cataclysm has brought it back down to two variations per tier. One for normal mode and one for heroic mode.

Classic (Level 60)

Dungeon Set 1: Beaststalker Armor

Back in classic WoW there were no justice or valor points and there were no “welfare epics”, all the items in this set were blue. The only way to get ready for raiding was to first obtain the first dungeon set (by running the dungeons over and over) and then to upgrade the set to the one below here.

This set looks very appropriate to me, like an average ranger. Which is what you should look like if you’re at the earliest stage of tier gearing.

Dungeon Set 2: Beastmaster Armor

Obtaining this upgraded version of the first dungeon set was a long and difficult process for the general player back in classic WoW. It required you to pay a (for the time) massive amount of gold and travel across the world doing some long convoluted quests. Having a full D2 set was something to be proud of.

When I leveled up my hunter for the first time, during the Wrath of the Lich King days, I actually went after several of these pieces at level 60 before going out to Outland. I remember my cousin yelling at me for being stupid because of it. 😀

Tier 1: Giantstalker Armor

The first set that was made up of all epics and quite possibly the set that most veteran hunters will remember the most fondly. Since pretty much everyone who raided back in classic WoW got to Molten Core, but rarely further than that.

To me this set looks totally Asian! Those shoulders looks like some ancient Japanese architecture and the entire getup gives off a very samurai-ish vibe.

Tier 1.5: Predator’s Armor

Three out of five items that form this set are quest rewards. The quests require, among other things, token drops from bosses in Zul’Gurub and reputation with the Zandalar Tribe. This set contains a trinket, which is very unusual.

The look of this set seems a bit disjointed to me, it doesn’t really match up that well.

Tier 2: Dragonstalker Armor

Without a doubt the coolest hunter tier set from classic WoW. Yes, I know it’s pink… but look at it. It’s made up of bits of dragons!

Collector’s would probably like to know that you can obtain an updated version of the head piece to this set from the revamped Onyxia raid.

Tier 2+ (Cenarion Circle Set): Trappings of the Unseen Path

To obtain all these three items you needed to be exalted with Cenarion Circle, get 30 scarabs, 6 idols and 3 tokens. And those items came in many different flavors too, you had to get the right ones.

The smallest hunter-only set, just made up of three items. The items in it (cloak, ring and a 1h weapon) were generally non-set for all the other sets and therefor you could combine this smaller set with other sets. Sounds a bit convoluted? Yes, this was back in the early days of WoW and things tended to get a bit like that then. I like it though, it’s a bit crazy and fun!

Tier 2.5: Striker’s Garb

To obtain all these five items you needed to be honored with Brood of Nozdormu, get 50 scarabs, 10 idols and 5 tokens. And those items came in many different flavors too, you had to get the right ones.

Getting this set would be a real long-time investment. You’d be raiding with 39 other people and everyone of them would want scarabs, idols and tokens. I have no idea how long it would take to obtain a full set but I can imagine it took a looong time.

The look of it, again, seems a bit Asian to me. “Samurai meets Silithid”?

Tier 3: Cryptstalker Armor

Very few people raided the original Naxxramas back when it was current, due to it’s steep gear requirement and high difficulty. And therefor only the very hardcore raiders ever obtained this original set.

It looks good, more leathery than the updated Wrath of the Lich King version. Has more of a “Ranger” look. I think I prefer the updated version though, but I’m biased towards it since I actually obtained that set. 🙂

Burning Crusade (Level 70)

Dungeon Set 3: Beast Lord Armor

This set looks a lot like the original dungeon sets from classic WoW. It’s been updated a bit and gotten a color tweak. Also the shoulders aren’t as big and pokey anymore, which is a bit of a shame.

Tier 4: Demon Stalker Armor

For a lot of players, this was as far in terms of gearing as they would ever come in all of Burning Crusade. Karazhan was the early 10-man raid and the others were the pug-friendly raids. Whereas Serpentshrine Cavern, Black Temple, Tempest Keep and Sunwell Plateau were all hardcore 25-man raids.

The look is a bit more “demon” than “demon hunter” in my opinion. Fits better on a Warlock.

Tier 5: Rift Stalker Armor

This is the famous Tier 5 set that all hunters want to obtain at least two pieces of for their extreme soloing. That 2-piece set bonus is still absolutely amazing for extreme soloing and with our steady rise in dps with each patch, it just keeps getting better.

I find the look confusing. What am I looking at? Really… what is that?

Tier 6: Gronnstalker’s Armor

A complete Gronnstalker set was very rare before “the great raid nerf of patch 3.0.2” due to the extreme difficulty of Sunwell Plateau.

This set looks a bit like the designer’s thought to themselves “what would a hunting Ogre wear?”. Despite that, I think it’s probably the best looking out of the Burning Crusade tier sets.

Wrath of the Lich King (Level 80)

Tier 7: Cryptstalker Battlegear

This set comes in two flavors; 10-man and 25-man. The 25-man version looks a bit more detailed and “epic” than the 10-man version.

This updated Wrath of the Lich King version of the Tier 3 set looks a lot more dark and evil than the original which had streaks of purple and pink.

I still have this set in my bank because it was the first tier set I ever obtained, that fact alone makes it very difficult to throw away but other than that I also think it’s a very good looking set.

Tier 8: Scourgestalker Battlegear

I still remember when this set came out… the horror, the pain to my eyes, the disbelief, etc. I assumed it was some sort of joke or placeholder when it was first shown on MMO-Champion but when patch 3.1 hit and we actually were forced into this gear I could not dismiss it as fact anymore.

It saddens me to this day that the most epic, beautiful and fun raid in the entire game also has the ugliest gear available for me. I religiously collected gear from this instance for Herald of the Titans and I hated the look of it the whole time, which spoiled my fun quite a lot. Having said that, defeating Algalon in this gear was the most awesome thing I have ever done in my WoW career. I only wish that I had looked better during it.

I rarely ever wore this with my Helm enabled. Did you?

Tier 9: Windrunner’s Battlegear/Pursuit

Maybe I hadn’t fully recovered from the horror that was Tier 8 gear but I didn’t really like this set either. I thought the shoulders looked liked boats or something. Looking at it now though, it doesn’t seem too bad.

The real interesting thing about this set is that it had a unique look per faction (which was fitting lore-wise to the raid in question). The look above was the Alliance version (and it really does look very true to the faction, doesn’t it?) and the Horde version looked like the picture you’re seeing to the right here.

Personally I think Blizzard’s endless love for the Horde and hate for the Alliance shines through here (Tinfoil hat mode engaged!), obviously the Horde set is absolutely-frikking-badass with FIRE coming out of the shoulders and the Alliance version is just… meh, some boats?

Tier 10: Ahn’Kahar Blood Hunter’s Battlegear

After the experiment with Tier 9 gear having different looks per faction, Blizzard went back to the traditional model and gave all hunters the same look.

The main color theme of it changed depending on what version it was, 10-man was orange, 25-man was green and 25-man heroic was purple.

I wore the three different colors of this set over the course of a year and I never really got sick of the look. Sure, I got a bit bored of it, but I never thought it looked bad. I still have my heroic version of the gear in my bank and I bring it out now and then… Wearing it has become a habit that I cannot break. Also, it looks frikkin’ cool, man!

Cataclysm (Level 85)

Tier 11: Lightning-Charged Battlegear

The first hunter tier of Cataclysm, which I think looks ugly beyond belief. I think most of the people reading this will agree with me on that too… Who wants to dress up like a Murloc all day?
This is the only set that looks worse than the tier 8 set, the absolute most ugly set available to us. At the time when t11 was current I hated the set beyond belief, it pissed me off every time I logged in and saw what my hunter had to wear. Nowadays though I transmog into it now and then just for a laugh. It still looks ridiculous.

Tier 12: Flamewaker’s Battlegear

I always liked the Firelands set for hunters. It’s fiery, full of sharp horns and even has the skin of Shannox’s face as a helm. How awesome is that? Sometimes though it makes me think; “Fire moose set”… and then I’m not loving the set as much.  But if you can get past the Fire moose thoughts then you will probably love this set.

For stylish-minded transmoggers, try combining this set with Tier 6. Due to the similarities in colors, they go rather well together.

Tier 13: Wyrmstalker Battlegear

At the end of Cataclysm, Blizzard decided they didn’t like the idea of players being able to buy tier gear with justice/valor points. Getting tier gear should be epic and therefor you could only get tier gear via tokens that dropped in the raid. Unfortunately, due to the introduction of Raid Finder, it felt less than epic to get the set. Sometimes you’d even get the set faster and easier than through points.

This set looks like a bunch of dragon bones tied together to form an armor and on top to crown it, there’s a dragon skull. This set was obviously designed to please the innermost desires of hunters all over World of Warcraft, and it has. This set and the Tier 12 set makes up for the horror that was Tier 11, thank you Blizzard.


Through the years hunters truly have been blessed with some fantastically odd and misshapen looking sets. But there have also some bright shining moments of sheer brilliance where everything just sorta clicked and we were able to look as uncommonly good looking as we were intended to.

Other than the sets listed here there are a lot of PvP sets and sets that aren’t specific for any class that you can obtain (that might look huntery).

Here’s my top 3 of the best looking sets:

  1. Tier 10: Ahn’Kahar Blood Hunter’s Battlegear
  2. Tier 13: Wyrmstalker Battlegear
  3. Tier 2: Dragonstalker Armor

And here’s my top 3 of the ugliest sets:

  1. Tier 11: Lightning-Charged Battlegear
  2. Tier 8: Scourgestalker Battlegear
  3. Tier 5: Rift Stalker Armor

What do you think? Are my views on the looks of these sets way off or am I right on target? Are detailed lists with information and views on outdated content in WoW not interesting? Let me know. 🙂


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About Gavendo

I write a World of Warcraft blog called "Rapid Fire" on the topics; hunters, pets and achievement hunting.
This entry was posted in General, Guides, Hunter, Hunter Gear and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to History of Hunter Tier Sets

  1. Zinn says:

    Oh I love these kinds of posts myself. I definitely had the idea that hunter tiers looked more weird though, clearly I am remembering it wrong, they’re not as crazy as the paladin ones by a long shot. I think my favorite is the Gronnstalker Set!

  2. Pingback: History of Hunter Tier Sets | Rapid Fire | The Daily Conservative

  3. Gavendo says:

    Good to see! 🙂
    Would it be fair of me to assume we might see something similar for priests or warriors? 😮


  4. Calvinball says:

    Very cool list you put together there! Keep em comin!

  5. Jasyla says:

    I think hunters have been subjected to some of the worst gear sets 😦

    Tier 10 and Tier 4 are the only sets I liked. Tiers 11 and 2 are the ones I like the least.

  6. Pingback: Shared Topic: Views on Your Class’ Gear | Twisted Nether Blogcast

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